Much of the professional development I have done of late has focused on Makerspaces, STEM, etc. Those are such an important part of what should be taking place in school libraries today. In these sessions I am always sure to provide hands-on time. I know some may not be comfortable embracing the great "stuff" associated with these trends in libraries, so my goal is to provide a safe time to play.
|Enjoy Legos with or without kids. You never know what YOU will create!|
In theory this sounds like a great idea. However, in actuality it never turns out as I expect. I should add that these sessions offer a variety of activities from duct tape flowers to Spheros, as well as Snap Circuits and more. So what's the problem? The problem is that the vast majority of participants choose to do safe activities or sit back and let others take the driver's seat.
I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on this, and I think we, as adults, think of this too much as play. Is play a bad thing? I don't think so. For me, I know getting started was hard. I would sit in my living room floor and play with Magformers or Snap Circuits (gotta know how they work myself before I share with others), and I felt a little strange at first. Add one of my nieces to the equation though, and I don't think twice about it. Why is that? Why do adults feel guilty about play? Is it all the other things that we should be doing? Is it that those things are for kids? If I wasn't playing with Sphero, I would probably be sewing or making cards. Why are those activities more acceptable? To be honest, I don't know the answer to that. What I do know is that teacher librarians need to embrace these activities that can aid the learning of our students. Sit down with students and connect with them over Legos. Get to know them, build relationships, and help facilitate their learning.